A third of Canada's Great Bear Rainforest saved from the chainsaws

Press release - February 7, 2006
Greenpeace applauded today's news that a third of Canada's unique Great Bear Rainforest is to be saved from the chainsaws. Following a decade of campaigning by Greenpeace, other leading environmental groups (1) and indigenous First Nations, the British Columbian Government has pledged to fully protect two million hectares of the ancient forest (2) and to dramatically improve bad logging practices in the rest of the forest.

Mouth of Lockhart/Gordon Creek, Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia, Canada.

"Today'sdecision is welcome news for the Great Bear Rainforest which was beingdestroyed at an alarming rate to feed a growing international appetite forwood, paper and toilet roll," said Gavin Edwards, Global Forest CampaignCoordinator, Greenpeace International. "The world's last ancient forestsneed a global network of protected areas to survive - and the Great BearRainforest is a good start."

Theprotected forest will be a haven for threatened or endangered species includinggrizzly, black and rare white "Spirit" bears, wild salmon, eagles andwolves as well as one-thousand year old cedar trees and ancient spruce. Inrecent years, its rapid destruction has raised international concern and protest.

Companiessuch as BBC Worldwide Publishing put pressure on the logging companies toprotect the forest and over 80 others, including Mitsubishi Corporation and theBelgian Timber Trade Federation, even stopped buying products made from GreatBear Rainforest wood.

 Inresponse, the British Columbian Government has committed to:

* Fullyprotecting 33% of the Great Bear Rainforest from logging;

*Making sure the logging industry implements a strict ecosystem-based managementsystem in the rest of the forest, which covers 6.4 million hectares, by 2009.This means any logging that will be sustainable in nature, and that manyadditional areas will be protected.

"Today'sannouncement plants the seeds to safeguard this global treasure but the truemeasure of success will be signs of change on the ground and in theforest," said Amanda Carr, forest campaigner for Greenpeace Canada."Greenpeace will be watching to see if the British Columbian Governmentfollows through on these commitments and takes this opportunity to make theGreat Bear Rainforest a global model of forest sustainability."

Greenpeaceis supporting an initiative to raise $120 million to help develop a new anddiverse economy in the Great Bear Rainforest, based on conservation. To date,$90million has been raised, including $30million from the British ColumbianGovernment. A further $30 million is needed from the Canadian FederalGovernment.

Greenpeaceis an independent campaigning organization, which uses non-violent, creativecommunication tools to put the spotlight on global environmental problems andto drive towards solutions essential for a green and peaceful future. It iscommitted to protecting the world's last ancient forests and the plants,animals and people who depend on them.

 

Other contacts: Amanda Carr, Forest Campaigner, Greenpeace Canada: +1 604 839-8760Gavin Edwards, Global Forest Campaign Coordinator, Greenpeace International: +31 652 391 429

VVPR info: Images of the Great Bear Rainforest are available on request.

Notes: (1) Greenpeace, ForestEthics, Rainforest Action Network and Sierra Club of Canada, BC Chapter. (2) This total includes new and previously protected areas and special no logging zones.

Exp. contact date: 2007-02-07 00:00:00